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The Legend Of Zelda: Things Only Adults Notice About Ganon & Ganondorf

Some basic facts about Ganon are true, no matter what "Legend of Zelda" game players dive into. Ganon and Ganondorf appear in most of the "Zelda" games, connected to the Triforce of Power and acting as the villainous force threatening to overtake Hyrule. No matter how many times Link defeats the giant, pig-like beast – or his equally intimidating human form – he comes back from his prison again and again. While the basic plot makes sense to most players, some of the finer details may be lost on younger adventurers.


The first big detail kids might not notice? Ganon and Ganondorf are the same person. Ganon is the monstrous form of Ganondorf, who is ostensibly a human from the Gerudo people. Though his green skin and 7'6" frame indicate otherwise, Ganondorf was originally just some guy. Well, sort of. He was the rare male born to the almost exclusively female Gerudo, a fabled kind of birth that immediately made him king. 

But being the leader of an entire nation wasn't enough for Ganondorf, and soon he rose to fulfill his evil potential. Here are a few details that only adults will notice about the ultimate big bad of the "Zelda" series.

Ganondorf had a horrifying childhood

It's been pretty well-established at this point that Ganon/Ganondorf is bad news all around. However, in at least one era of the series' many timelines, Ganondorf started off as an innocent victim of circumstance. Towards the end of "Wind Waker," the villain reveals that he suffered a traumatic childhood that forever altered the way he looks at the world. He explains that his homeland was a place with very little hope: "When the sun rose into the sky, a burning wind punished my lands, searing the world. And when the moon climbed into the dark of night, a frigid gale pierced our homes. No matter when it came, the wind carried the same thing... Death." On the other hand, a gentler wind blew through the kingdom of Hyrule, which led to Ganondorf's desire to take the land for himself.


Though the younger version of Link regards Ganondorf's speech with confusion and even disinterest, some players have really taken to this speech as an elegant explanation for Ganondorf's actions. Growing up, he viewed Hyrule from afar as a place of peace and tranquility, one that was very different from his desolate homeland. His quest to conquer Hyrule may have actually begun as a way of finding a kind of inner peace, which eventually became more twisted over time.

His sad backstory doesn't absolve Ganondorf of his many sins, but it has given a great number of fans a better understanding of where he's coming from (at least, in this incarnation).

He doesn't work well with others

In many of the "Legend of Zelda" games, Ganon/Ganondorf is portrayed as the be-all, end-all bad guy of the realm. With that in mind, he's not typically seen working with too many other villains aside from his own subordinates. That's why it was such a surprise to see Ganondorf taking orders from Master Hand in "Super Smash Bros. Brawl."


During that game's "Subspace Emissary" mode, it first looks as though Ganondorf is behind the plot to destroy all of the heroes of the World of Trophies. But things take a dastardly turn when Ganondorf betrays Bowser and blasts him with a Dark Cannon, turning Mario's arch-nemesis into an inanimate trophy. If it weren't for the intervention of Tabuu, the true villain pulling the strings in "Brawl," Ganondorf would have done the same to Master Hand (and presumably Wario, if the mustachioed villain hadn't already basically abandoned the plan).

It probably shouldn't come as a huge surprise to learn that Ganondorf isn't keen on being anyone's lacky, but "Brawl" really illustrates how little patience he has for teamwork of any kind. If you're a wannabe despot looking to conquer the multiverse, you may want to skip giving Ganondorf a call.


He can't help being evil

Maybe it's unfair to say that Ganondorf – and therefore Ganon – chose to be evil. Truthfully, he was always doomed to seek out power, no matter what the cost. In "Skyward Sword" – the first game in the "Legend of Zelda" timeline, an evil entity named King Demise threatened Hyrule before being banished. The entire plot of "Skyward Sword" involves Demise's sword, Ghirahim, attempting to revive its dead master.


"Hyrule Historia" – the definitive text on the "Zelda" series, officially licensed by Nintendo – proposes that Demise is reincarnated as Ganondorf, sent back to the world to attempt to gain power once again. Demise and Ganondorf both even have fiery red hair, which makes the connection even clearer. Still, for younger gamers who might not have played "Skyward Sword" or investigated the complex timeline of "Zelda," Ganondorf's evil tendencies might be misconstrued. Sure, he's a bad guy, but he really can't help it. It's baked into him. At the end of "Skyward Sword," Demise ominously tells Link that he'll eventually return, setting up his continual death and rebirth, and his influence over Ganon and Ganondorf later in the timeline.


"The Legend of Zelda" series is all about an epic struggle of good versus evil, the goddess Hylia and King Demise locked in an eternal battle. Whether Demise returns as Ganon, Ganondorf, or some mix of the two, he's simply destined for evil.